About the Artist
Shelby K Cook was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, where the west coast mountains and forests fostered a lifelong love of nature. She studied fine art in college, earning her BFA from Western Washington University along with a BA in Art History. After graduating, Cook moved to Seattle, WA, where she continues to paint and run her studio practice. Traveling when able, she brings her portable easel to paint en plein air in different countries and locations.
Shelby uses contemporary realism to explore facets of her life. Focused on using painting as a way to retain memories, she draws inspiration from her travels and experiences. A connection to nature stemming from a childhood love of forests means she seeks interesting environments to inspire her, allowing her recollections of a place to alter the image as she paints in order to tangibly capture memories. With her portraiture and interior work, she is focused on exploring the relationship between people and the spaces they inhabit, trying to capture liminal spaces and transitional moments. Nostalgia plays a large role, and she uses photos she has taken while traveling and older photos of herself taken by people she loves as a starting point to explore her own past and place on earth.
What are your “Treasured moments” & how do you connect it to your work?
My treasured moments are the small, seemingly insignificant moments when traveling where I feel completely at peace. While I love visiting new places and seeing all of the museums and landmarks, I also love to take notice of the everyday experiences of a place and take the time to enjoy those beautiful, fleeting moments, like reading on a rooftop of the airbnb or the cold morning light coming through the window of a breakfast nook in Scotland. By taking the time to acknowledge these moments (and occasionally snapping a photo to remind myself of where I was when they occurred), I can revisit them when painting and attempt to capture the feeling I felt at the time.